In one of my earlier companies, we used to have knowledge-sharing sessions every Friday among the content team. Essentially, these sessions were held so that we could help each other become better writers.
One Friday, it was my turn to pick up a marker and stand in front of the whiteboard. Before then, we’d already talked about structuring articles and publishing on various platforms, so I didn’t want to talk about the process of writing. I wanted to talk about a trait that I believe every writer should have.
Every writer should be selfish.
I told the team to think of themselves first whenever they begin writing an article or creating a piece of content. “What’s in this for me?” is what they should ask themselves.
It is important for a writer to be selfish because wherever they are working, they are building a portfolio of work. It is this oeuvre that will help them get ahead in the same company or get work with elsewhere. Every piece of work should be something they would like to show off in their portfolio.
If you are asked for your 5 best articles, do you have to skim through 30 and shortlist 5 with difficulty or do you narrow down the list to 10 and can’t decide which 5 of them to show? No prizes for guessing that you should be in the latter position.
The only way you can be there is by being selfish. You must write articles and stories that show off your prowess as a writer. Your creativity should come out, your ability to research should come out, your capability to comprehend complicated technical aspects should come out. The article should show that you are not only brilliant with words but also articulate enough to put forward a winning argument with those words. The article or story should be the kind of piece of writing that would make your reader say, “Hmm, this is very well put and so interesting. I’ll share this with people I know on social media and by email.”
That’s the kind of article you should write by being selfish about satisfying your own ego. And of course, this is not limited to articles or stories. Content creators have to look beyond write-ups and create infographics, campaigns, podcasts and videos as well. That too because different forms of content would make your own portfolio so much better.
And while a writer is being selfish, the company he or she is working for shouldn’t mind because eventually, the selfishness works in favour of the company as well. The work is, after all, published for the company and on the company’s platform.
When I write selfishly, it helps the company because more people read what I have written and it gets more potential users coming to company. It is the same for any company, publication or platform that you are writing for.
So, be selfish. Write more, write better. Think of yourself every time you create a piece of content. Create the kind of content that you’d want to shout about from the rooftops. Your writing should be about you. The more it is about you, the more awesome it will be. And awesome work is useful for everyone — you, your reader and your company.